It might not be the most visually exciting bike – there aren't any idler pulleys or crazy linkages to be seen – but wild designs don't always equate to better performance. With the new Nomad, it's a story of continual refinements, and this is easily the best version yet.
The previous generation Nomad felt like more of an all-mountain machine rather than a bike that wanted to be pushed to the ragged edge. It had plenty of travel and 27.5” wheels, but didn't quite instill the same level of confidence as version 6.0. The larger front wheel on the new Nomad certainly plays a part in that, as do the longer chainstays. There's less of a speed limit - if anything, the faster you go the more alive the Nomad feels.
The reach of the Nomad is a touch shorter than some other bikes in this category at 472mm for a size L in the low setting, but that never felt like an issue, especially considering the slack head angle and moderately long chainstays. I've said it before, but the race to have the longest possible reach seems to have slowed, and in this case the Nomad's numbers equate to a bike that's easy to stick into corners or tight, awkward maneuvers while also retaining its composure when bombing down a steep straightline.
The Nomad's rear suspension provides a supportive platform that leaves enough millimeters of squish in reserve for sudden bigger hits, while also making it possible to get the bike airborne without feeling like you're getting sucked into a waterbed.
As for the mixed wheel setup, I'm a fan, especially on a longer travel bike like this. That smaller wheel is further out of the way on the steeps, which broadens the range of body positions available while descending – getting lower helps add more stability, and makes it easy to carve the bike from side to side on loose trails to control speed.Racing the Nomad
I raced the EWS 100 in Whistler over the summer in order to see how the Nomad would handle between the tape, and came away very happy with its performance, and medium-happy with mine. The tracks were steep and rough, with plenty of sections that required staying light on the bike to avoid wheel-sucking holes, or to maneuver around a sudden sharp turn.
The whole mixed-wheel vs. 29 debate will likely never end, and at the end of the day I'd say it really comes down to personal preference, and on the track. On a slightly flatter, more pedally course I could see a full 29” bike having a slight advantage, but on steeper tracks that require more aggressive bike maneuvering the mixed-wheel setup definitely has merit. All this is to say that the Nomad can certainly be used as a race bike if you're so inclined, especially if the course is steep and rough.